35 Things Men Do When You Break Up with Them

The stages of grief are a little...messier for dudes.

Pile of Dirty Dishes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The other day, a friend approached me with the news of his breakup. I tried to piece it together—what coping stage is he in? Is he wallowing in the black hole of his broken heart? Is he drowning his sorrows in booze? Is a visit to the strip club in our near future? Then he disappeared. "Ah-ha," I thought, "he's still in stage one."

Over the years, I have learned that men deal with breakups in similar ways, and that there are five definitive stages of she-dumped-me grief. I offer them here for your edification:

Phase 1: We Hole Up Alone at Home

  • turning off our phones in the off chance that you would call/we would be tempted to text
  • ordering ALL the takeout
  • making sure we litter our living room with the containers that food came in
  • layering on top of it with a new junk pile of empty beer and liquor bottles (apparently breakups are not the time for wine)
  • smoking cigarettes even if we're not smokers
  • channeling our pain into binge-watching Netflix
  • alternating that with binge-playing some first-person shooter game
  • making homemade "art" (for example: collages consisting of shredded old pictures of the two of us)
  • wallowing in the sadness of the break up by playing sad music—preferred artists include Leonard Cohen and Tracy Chapman
  • looking at photos of you and crying (yes, we do that)

Phase 2: We Hole Up at the Bar Instead

  • playing the same five songs on the juke box because that's what we want to hear, damnit
  • drinking the same hard alcohol, quickly at first and then slowly so we don't have to go home (this is particularly true in the case that you used to live together)
  • playing the same stupid video game, like "Buck Hunter" or the abyss known as "Erotic Photo Hunt," an arcade game where you spot the differences in nearly identical photos of scantily clad women
  • occasionally entertaining the cautiously optimistic friend, so long as they say we will get back together

Phase 3: We Party. Like, a Lot

  • no bar is good enough—we are only at one bar for as long as we can stay distracted (which is a limited amount of time)
  • start drinking at 4 p.m. and don't stop until 4 a.m.
  • non-stop flirting with anyone we're remotely attracted to
  • dancing like crazy (yes, even though you know we hate dancing)
  • throwing up, frequently
  • skipping meals
  • becoming seriously irresponsible at work—showing up late or not at all, losing all track of important meetings

Phase 4: We Get Laid

  • joining a dating site in the hopes that we'll regain confidence by being desired by a million other women
  • getting drunk and asking all those women on said dating site if they want to come over and have sex
  • finding someone in real life to have sex with, usually at a bar
  • actually dating someone for a few weeks until we realize how annoying they are/we still miss you

Phase 5: We Move On

  • actually talking to friends about what happened/how much it sucks going to the gym
  • secretly trying out meditation or yoga
  • taking ourselves out for nice meals
  • still crying, but feeling better about it somehow

Lodro Rinzler is the author of How to Love Yourself (And Sometimes Other People). Check out a free chapter here.

You should also check out:

Why Do Breakups Make You Crazy?

Science Says Breakups Suck More for Women

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